Day 24 – Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Day #24

Children with Down syndrome are more likely to get leukemia.

This scares me.

One of Willow’s friends was diagnosed with leukemia. My heart literally aches thinking about what that sweet little girl and her family have been through and are still going through!

If there is any good news, it’s that children with Down syndrome often respond better to treatment than those without an extra 21st chromosome. Still, the battle sucks. It’s scary, unfair and unrelenting.

Willow was actually born with something called Transient Leukemia. It’s a disorder unique to individuals with Down syndrome and resolves on its own within the first few months of life. Willow’s actually went away within a few days.

At her 1 year check-up, Willow’s blood was drawn to check for various things, including leukemia. The results were startling. Willow’s white blood cell count was extremely low, specifically her neutrophils. Doctors concluded Willow likely had leukemia and prepared us for battle. Thankfully, a bone marrow biopsy was done the next day and showed no cancer. Turns out Willow had a rare blood disorder called neutropenia.While neutropenia wasn’t any fun, we were thankful to God that cancer was ruled out.

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Every year Willow gets her blood drawn to check for cancer and every year we hold our breath until the results are in. While strength seems to reside on the 21st chromosome, leukemia is an opponent we aim to avoid. We’d rather spend our time fighting for a cure, than fighting cancer.

 

 

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